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How to Clean Fire-Retardant Curtains

Updated February 21, 2017

Fire-retardant fabrics have been treated with chemicals to lower or limit their ability to burn. You can find fire-retardant curtains manufactured from cotton, polyester, fibreglass, wool and linen. According to the Apparel Search Company, curtains labelled as permanently fire-retardant, inherently fire-retardant or durably fire-retardant have fire-retardant properties woven into the fabric that will not dissipate with cleaning. If your curtains bear a label that says they are merely fire-retardant, they have likely been sprayed or coated with a fire-retardant chemical that will gradually wash or wear away. The chemicals used to make fabric flame-retardant can dissolve with both water washing and dry cleaning. If you wash fabric marked flame- or fire-retardant, you will need to re-treat the fabric after washing to restore the fire retardancy.

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  1. Read the label on the curtains. You can usually find the label attached to a seam inside the lining, or near the top or bottom of the curtain panel, inside. The label should contain instructions to tell you if the curtains should be dry-cleaned or may be washed. The label will also tell you the fire-retardant designation of your curtains.

  2. Vacuum the curtains to remove dust and surface dirt. Use the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner and move from the top to the bottom of the curtain. This is easiest to do while the curtains are still hanging.

  3. Wash washable curtains in cool water with a mild detergent, using a delicate cycle. For large curtains, use a large-capacity washing machine at a coin laundry, instead of your home machine. This will help prevent wrinkling.

  4. Dry-clean non-washable curtains. Be sure to let the dry cleaner know that the curtains are fire-retardant.

  5. Spread the curtains flat to dry. If you hang them while they are still wet, you could stretch large or heavy curtains out of shape. Hang the curtains once they are dry and steam them lightly to remove wrinkles.

  6. Spray or dip curtains labelled fire- or flame-retardant in a product designed to restore fire-retardant properties after washing. Follow the manufacturer's directions for proper application of the fire-retardant treatment.

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Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum with upholstery attachment
  • Large-capacity washer
  • Mild detergent

About the Author

Cynthia Myers is the author of numerous novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University.

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